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The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Two Towers (original 1954; edition 1981)

by J.R.R. Tolkien

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27,82215636 (4.38)374
Title:The Two Towers
Authors:J.R.R. Tolkien
Info:Grafton (1981), Paperback
Collections:Recommendations ONLY, Your library, Fantasy
Tags:!tol, /LotR2, fantasy, green dragon, high fantasy, fantastical creatures, undead, @2008, war, classic literature, mental magic

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The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (Author) (1954)


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English (142)  Spanish (5)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Polish (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (154)
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Read my full review here.

Tolkien uses his talent to give readers beautiful and extremely detailed descriptions of the setting, characters, and actions. Tolkien knows how to weave subtle foreshadowing into the story so that readers can pick up hints and clues and try to guess what significance they will have later in the novel.

The characters of this novel are my favourite aspect. In the first novel we mainly see the story as Frodo would see it but in this installment we are given the opportunity to experience the journeys through the perspective of some of the more minor characters in the Fellowship. I think this was a very good decision on Tolkien’s part because it helps to build up the complexities of these minor characters. The characters which I really enjoyed this time are Pippin, Sam, and, of course, the dynamic between Legolas and Gimli. In the first novel it is apparent that Legolas and Gimli have bonded but that’s shown much more in this book and their banter often serves as comic relief in tense situations. Pippin isn’t as foolish a character as he is made out to be in the first book though he still does foolish things For example, picking up the stone orb which Gandalf got from Saruman. Sam is the perspective through which we see Frodo’s journey. This solidifies Sam’s importance and makes him one of the main characters. Sam’s growth is one of the best things to read.

There are, of course, some issues which I noticed while reading. Again, Tolkien tends to use the same description for multiple things throughout the book. At one point, he uses the word “sheer” so often that it appears every couple of pages. For a writer who is so imaginative, it’s odd that Tolkien was this repetitive. As well, the narrator obviously intervenes a few times which doesn’t fit exactly with the rest of the narrative. Also, there were some contradictions with the characters that irked me a bit. For example, Sam has already become so mature and yet he does something very foolish. I’m not quite sure if it fits or not. I don’t know, it just stood out to me. As well, Pippin seems to have grown a lot during his time with the orcs and then Treebeard, yet as soon as he is off with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, he does something really risky. It’s almost as though as soon as they are among the Fellowship again him and Merry revert to childish hobbits.

Overall, this book was a delight to read. Even when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about what I had read. The characters, descriptions, and intricacies are all so well-written. ( )
  CaitlinAC | Aug 10, 2014 |
As Sauron's dark forces spread out from Mordor through the lands of Middle-earth, the fellowship forged to destroy the One Ring of Power is broken. Most of the fellowship's survivors race toward Isengard, where the growing strength of the renegade wizard Saruman threatens to leave a lush land in desolation. With huge armies building in preparation for the first great battles of the War of the Ring, the hobbits Merry and Pippin discover some unexpected allies. Meanwhile, Frodo Baggins and the stalwart Samwise Gamgee set off across the bleak lands bordering Mordor as they continue their efforts to return the One Ring to Mount Doom - encountering a most unlikely guide along the way. ( )
  jepeters333 | Jul 6, 2014 |
J.R.R Tolkien has used his powers once again. The curiosity of how he comes up with such detail, places, ideas, and characters, is endless. The book is filled with breath taking, imagery and use of all 5 senses just by reading. There is almost a sixth sense as the book brings you into the story, next to The Company, battling orcs, feeling every detail that Tolkien wrote. How did this story and potential come into his mind? Whatever happened, it had such a positive impact on all age readers. The fictional story, was about bravery, courage, teamwork, and hope. As the Company was dispersed, the three groups had to survive on their own. Merry and Pippin, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, and Sam and Frodo. Throughout the "edge of your seat" excitement, some characters unfortunately are killed, while some, new and old are introduced. This book and series are highly influential and an excellent source of knowledge. I would highly recommend it to anyone over 12. It would be hard for kids under 12, since the words and language of the book are hard to piece together. This series is so far my favorite, it my not be the same for all, but once you read the first chapter, you might be in a trance of how interesting and adventurous the book is. That is, if you are up for an adventure. ( )
  br14caoc | Jun 15, 2014 |
The story picks up immediately where the first book in the trilogy ended, focusing on Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas at first. Aragorn runs to assist when he hears Boromir blowing his horn, but arrives too late: Boromir is dying, and the hobbits have been taken by orcs. Legolas and Gimli enter soon after, but Boromir is already dead. The trio are devastated. Their group is truly splintered, and they aren't even sure which hobbits were abducted. Careful investigation back at the campsite leads Aragorn to believe that at least Frodo, and probably Sam, made it across the river. Rather than giving up in defeat, they decide to try and free their kidnapped friends as the best course of action, and leave Frodo to the path he chose to take alone. Several chapters cover their swift journey in pursuit, then the book cuts over to Pippin and Merry, who are alive but in a dark time. An orc battle party is no place for gentle hobbits, but they show their mettle and ingenuity in leaving signs for their friends, and finally breaking free and escaping into the woods. More action follows, as the hobbits meet the ents, Aragorn and company meet the Riders of Rohan, Gandalf rejoins the company and frees the leader of Rohan from his enchantment, and the ents are stirred to war. While the trees conquer Saruman, Arargorn and his friends join the Rohirrim to battle Saruman's forces. The triumphant conclusion of both battles, and their aftermath, end the first half of the novel.

In the second portion, we return to Frodo and Sam, alone and en route to Mordor. They don't remain alone for long, though, as Gollum stops sneaking around and outright attacks them. Sam and Frodo subdue him; through a combination of coercion and appealing to his old nature, Frodo enlists his aid, and the hobbits decide to let Gollum lead them into Mordor, using the hidden routes only he knows. A majority of this narrative details their arduous journey through desolate lands, and the tension that continues to mount, as they near the center of evil, and trust Smeagol (Gollum's supposedly nicer split personality) when they know he is ultimately untrustworthy. There is a moment of respite when they meet Faramir, brother to Boromir and leader of a band of resistance fighters, and then the looming danger finally crashes upon them: Gollum delivers Frodo and Sam to the immense and evil Shelob, in the midst of orc territory.

The first half of this book is possibly my favorite portion of the entire epic. I love the three experienced fighters tracking down their hobbit friends, seeming so small and overlooked, but really forces of change and legend. I love the Ents! The way Gandalf is restored to his friends, and how Pippin and Merry reveal their inner heroes, are shining moments in the series. The second part of the book was less enticing to me. On the one hand, Tolkien did a great job of portraying the reality of a difficult trek into dangerous areas, and the feeling of oppression and suspense was constant. On the other hand, I was bored at times. How do you depict a long and boring walk without being boring? A challenge to every writer. While I was still engaged and eager to see how the story unfolded, the reading was slower in the second half. The most interesting bits occurred when action broke up the monotonous walking and fear. The Dead Marshes, for instance, with its grotesque landscape, or the fight with Shelob. Frodo's mission becomes much more exciting as it nears its end, and leaves readers on a cliffhanger that made me want to read more about Mordor. The second volume of the trilogy is shorter, but then it focuses on the action and developing war of the ring, with much less exposition than was required to set everything in motion in the first volume. With the momentous events that occur, and the growing bonds of friendship and the developing heroes, this part of the trilogy is crucial. All of its wonderful shiny moments make up for the sometimes slow reading in Frodo's adventures. As with the Fellowship, this book is not to be missed by any fantasy fan. ( )
  nmhale | May 2, 2014 |
Once I started reading this book it felt like I had dived back into the journey and had never left it. I felt like I was there with them, that I was fighting with them and journeying with them. I really enjoyed all the action in this one, it felt like just the right amount, and I liked the progression of the plot as well. I loved getting to see friendships growing between characters (I'm looking at you Gimli and Legolas) and seeing the strong connection all of the characters feel towards each other. I am really looking forward to reading The Return of the King and seeing what happens next. ( )
  dpappas | Apr 21, 2014 |
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That 'The Lord of the Rings' should appeal to readers of the most austere tastes suggests that they too now long for the old, forthright, virile kind of narrative... the author has had intimate access to an epic tradition stretching back and back and disappearing in the mists of Germanic history, so that his story has a kind of echoing depth behind it...

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersson, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blok, CorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domènech, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horne, MatildeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglis, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ohlmarks, ÅkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olsson, LottaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennanen, EilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, DarrellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
First words
Aragorn sped on up the hill. Every now and then he bent to the ground. Hobbits go light, and their footprints are not easy even for a Ranger to read, but not far from the top a spring crossed the path, and in the wet earth he saw what he was seeking.
"Not asleep, dead".
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Disambiguation notice
J.R.R. Tolkien's complete work The Lord of the Rings consists of six Books, frequently bound in three Volumes, as follow:

Volume I: The Fellowship of the Ring, consisting of Book 1, "The Ring Sets Out" and Book 2, "The Ring Goes South";
Volume II: The Two Towers, consisting of Book 3, "The Treason of Isengard," and Book 4, "The Ring Goes East"; and
Volume III: The Return of the King, consisting of Book 5, "The War of the Ring," and Book 6, "The End of the Third Age," with Appendices.

This LT Work consists of Volume II, The Two Towers; please do not combine it with any other part(s) or with Tolkien's complete work, each of which have LT Works pages of their own. Thank you.

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The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring.
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The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor--the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring.… (more)

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